How to Swim the Breaststroke

The breaststroke: Professional athletes use it around the world to push themselves as fast and as flawlessly as they can through the water, proving their strength and speed in the pool. It’s a commonly known and even more commonly used swimming stroke that offers great health benefits and can certainly get you ahead of the game.

So, how exactly does this type of stroke work? What makes the breaststroke unique? Is it easy for kids to learn? Can it be used in a variety of different swimming situations?

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the breaststroke!

Preparing for the Breaststroke

The breaststroke can be a tricky technique for those who have never tried it before. The most important thing to know before beginning is that you should keep your body and face as flat as possible while in the water. Try to become parallel with the water’s surface as a great way of practicing your coordination and balance for this particular stroke.

Stretch your arms out, take a deep breath, and you’re ready to start swimming.

Moving Your Arms

Arm movement is one of the tricker things to learn when trying to develop a good breaststroke for the first time. You’ll want to start with your arms out straight and your palms facing downward, in alignment with the rest of your body which is also flat and facing downward. Then, you want to simultaneously push down and out - like you are literally pushing the water away from you so you can move forward!

Then, your elbows will be lifted above your hands. You should start to pull towards your chest, like you are bringing the water back to you. Then join both of your palms together while you move forward, as this helps to reduce the amount of drag from the water’s force.

Moving Your Legs

Moving your legs is the next method you’ll have to get a firm grasp on before you can successfully do your backstroke. In order to move your legs, you’ll want to start in a position where your legs are straightened behind you. Then, as you start to move your arms, you should bend your knees together as your heels come towards your buttocks.

At the same time, you should be moving your feet in a circular motion while your legs go outward, until eventually you reach the straight-legged position you started out with. Your feet should be flat-footed at all times to avoid ankle damage while doing the breaststroke as well.

Breathing and Gliding

Learning how to breathe while doing the breaststroke is the third element of this swimming technique that you will need to learn in order to master the stroke. It may seem complicated at first, but with practice it will start to come naturally to you.

The best technique for breathing includes lifting your head above the water at the end of the arm-pulling movement. This is when you take a big breath in. During the next arm and leg movement phase, you can exhale in the water (which should create bubbles since your mouth is underneath), while your hands push forward to help you glide through the water.

And speaking of gliding…

The “kick” portion of the breaststroke is what powers your propulsion forward, while your arms in the “prayer” position is what helps you glide through the water in an aerodynamic way. You can learn to glide while you do this stroke so that you can better soar through the water. Once you kick, your body will be smooth and streamlined. Stay in the arms forward, legs back position for a few seconds as you feel the force of your stroke pull you through the water on its own.

What Not to Do

There are a few things you should not do while performing the breaststroke. One of these things includes rushing through the gliding phase. You don’t want to rush through this and start your arm cycles again, since the gliding is actually the fastest part of the breaststroke. Enjoy it for as long as you can!

You also want to make sure not to move your feet or ankles too much; again, keeping them in a flat-footed position can help you move faster and will also prevent your body from getting bent out of shape.